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Jun 11 2020

LAND FORCES LEGAL MINDS CONVERGE FOR LANDCOM LEGAL CONFERENCE

IZMIR, Turkey - NATO Allied Land Command held its bi-annual legal conference June 3, 2020 for lawyers and legal professionals serving the land community within NATO and their counterparts in various U.S. commands located in Europe.

This is the second iteration of the conference, with the first one occurring in 2018 after Exercise Trident Javelin where LANDCOM was first certified as a Multi-Corps Land Component Command (MCLCC). The conference aim was to share best practices in NATO legal procedures and develop a common understanding of key legal issues across the Alliance.  

Conference organizer and key host, LANDCOM’s Chief Legal Advisor (LEGAD), U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Mary Ann Bowery, originally planned for conference attendees to attend in person over three days at LANDCOM’s Izmir headquarters. Travel restrictions due to coronavirus turned the conference into a single day event conducted by video teleconference.

It was still an amazing opportunity to bring together legal advisors from across the NATO Allied Command Operations, Allied Command Transformation, and our Allied Partners,

she said. “We were able to share our experiences and important lessons learned from our exercises during the past year and discuss important trends in the area of LAWFARE.”

LAWFARE is the strategy of using or misusing law as a substitute for traditional means to achieve an operational objective. In addition to this, the conference focused on land specific perspectives and challenges at the Corps and Joint level, particularly with regard to legal operations in an Article V scenario. Targeting, humanitarian law, detention/POW operations, and NATO doctrine on rules of engagement, and lessons learned from exercise Trident Jupiter 2019 were also on the agenda for discussion.

Netherlands Army Colonel Jan Stinissen, Chief LEGAD for Joint Force Command Brunssum, led a discussion on TRJU19 and zeroed in on one key lesson learned.  

“We demonstrated our ability to command and control Article V operations,” he said. “At the same time, such a large and complex exercise offered perfect opportunities to further improve, for example in areas where we still tend to take an approach based on our recent experience in crisis response operations.”

 Also covered was LANDCOM’s new approach for Combat Readiness Evaluations (CREVAL) and how command legal advisors should contribute to the CREVAL process. 

“The new approach is a cooperative and iterative process that focuses on objectives mutually agreed upon by the Commander of the evaluated unit and Commander, LANDCOM. It focuses on identifying areas of improvement and providing recommendations on how to make those improvements,” said Lieutenant Colonel Bowery.

The conference brought new perspectives to some attendees. U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Jessica Farrell, Chief of Operational Law at U.S. Africa Command, said the conference helped broaden her understanding of military law in the NATO Alliance.

The conference brought new perspectives to some attendees. U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Jessica Farrell, Chief of Operational Law at U.S. Africa Command, said the conference helped broaden her understanding of military law in the NATO Alliance.

"The LANDCOM [Legal] Conference was an invaluable opportunity to learn about NATO legal issues. It was also helpful to get insight into how our partners train and prepare for their incredibly important and unique missions," she said.

LANDCOM’s Deputy LEGAD, French Army Major Claire, attended the conference in 2018 and said this year’s conference still proved a successful way to develop the NATO legal community despite the reduced agenda and lack of social aspects.       

“The VTC was a fruitful option, it was also a new experience in terms of organization,” she said. “It showed people that the LEGADs are still active in those times, and still invested in the hot topics that were tackled. I am very glad this event took place. "

Attending the conference were representatives from Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Allied Command Transformation, JFC Brunssum, JFC Naples, Resolute Support, U.S. European Command, NATO Allied Maritime Command, NATO Allied Air Command, NATO Rapid Deployable Corps (NRDC) Turkey, NRDC Greece, Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, NATO Special Operations Headquarters, 3rd UK Division, Multinational Corps Northeast, Eurocorps, Rapid Reaction Corps France, U.S. Army Africa, Norwegian Joint Headquarters, Multinational Division Northeast, Multinational Division Southeast, NATO School, Joint Warefare Centre, Joint Force Training Center (Poland), Joint Chemical Biological Radiological Center of Excellence, and NATO Brigade.

Story by Public Affairs Office at LANDCOM

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